Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


The ILLIAC IV was one of the most infamous supercomputers ever. It used early ideas on SIMD (single instruction stream, multiple data streams). The project started in 1965, with a design goal of 256 processors and a 13MHz clock. In 1976 it ran its first successful application. It had 1MB memory (64x16KB).

Although designed by University of Illinois, during the 1960s anti-war protests it was decided to move it to a secure government facility where it could be protected. Moffett Field, California was selected.

Its actual performance was 15 MFLOPS, it was estimated in initial predictions to be 1000 MFLOPS. It totally failed as a computer, only a quarter of the fully planned machine (64 processors) was ever built, costs escalated from the $8 million estimated in 1966 to $31 million by 1972, and the computer took three more years of engineering before it was operational.

The only good it did was to push research forward a bit, leading way for machines such as the Thinking Machines CM-1 and CM-2.

Based on an article in FOLDOC, used with permission.